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Guidelines & Categories

Guidelines for Lammy Award Submissions

Submissions for the 33rd Lambda Literary Awards are now open. The deadline to submit is November 16, 2020.

Anthony Rapp introduces Alexander Chee at the 1999 Lambda Literary Awards

Lambda Literary Award submissions are judged principally on literary merit and content relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives. Specific guidelines must be met for each award category.

A book may be submitted to only one category. Because of this, it is very important that you read through these guidelines carefully to ensure that your book is eligible for consideration and that you are submitting it to the proper category.

If, after thoroughly reading the guidelines below, you still have questions about the submission process, please email [email protected] before submitting your work.

submit

Update 9/24/20: Because of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on theater, we will also allow entries for the following this year in the LGBTQ Drama category:

  • Plays that were scheduled to be produced in theaters in 2020 but which were postponed or cancelled because of the pandemic
  • Plays that were produced and performed outside traditional theatrical venues in 2020 because of the pandemic (such as online venues, etc.)

New This Year

  • Due to COVID-19, we have implemented an entirely digital submission process using Submittable. Please do not send physical copies of your books.
  • Given the significant increase in the volume of LGBTQ books for younger readers, we have split the LGBTQ Children’s/YA category into two categories: LGBTQ Children’s/Middle Grade and LGBTQ Young Adult.
  • We have expanded the mystery category to include bi, trans, and queer books by creating a single LGBTQ Mystery category as opposed to separate lesbian and gay mystery categories.

General Eligibility

  • Lambda Literary Award submissions are judged principally on literary merit and content relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives.
  • Submitted books must be published between January 1 and December 31, 2020. The book must also be distributed (i.e., available in bookstores or online) in the United States during 2020. (See the LGBTQ Drama criteria for exceptions regarding plays.)
  • Lambda Literary Awards are open to all authors regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity except in the case of the special awards that mark specific stages of an individual LGBTQ writer’s career.
  • Books must be published in English. Translations from other languages are eligible.
  • Self-published books are eligible.
  • Books available only in ebook format are not eligible.
  • First print editions of books previously published online or in ebook format are eligible.
  • Reprints of books that were published in the US in previous years are not eligible. This includes second (or later) editions, books that have been republished by a different publisher, and books that are modified versions of previously published works.
  • First US editions of books published outside the US before 2020 are eligible if the original edition was not submitted for Lammy consideration in a previous year.

Specific Categories

A book may be submitted to only one category.

If a category receives fewer than ten (10) submissions, the category will not be active in this awards cycle. The submitted books may then be reassigned to another category, if appropriate. If the book cannot compete in another category, the submission fee will be refunded.

Lesbian or Gay Categories

Books eligible for lesbian categories feature a prominent lesbian character or contain content of strong significance to lesbian lives.

Books eligible for gay categories feature a prominent gay male character or contain content of strong significance to gay male lives.

Lesbian Fiction or Gay Fiction:
Literary fiction that does not fit more precisely into a specific genre category such as Erotica, Romance, Speculative Fiction, or Mystery. Novels, novellas, and short story collections by a single author are eligible; anthologies are not.

Lesbian Memoir/Biography or Gay Memoir/Biography:
Biographies, memoirs, autobiographies, and works of creative nonfiction by or about lesbians and gay men or with content of strong significance to gay and lesbian lives. Posthumously published works and/or those with co-authors are eligible; anthologies are not.

Lesbian Poetry or Gay Poetry:
Single volumes and collected poems are eligible; chapbooks are not. Updated editions of previously published works are not eligible unless at least 50% of the poetry (not the supplemental text) is new.

Lesbian Romance or Gay Romance:
Novels, novellas, and short story collections by a single author that focus on a central love relationship between two or more characters are eligible; anthologies are not. Category includes a broad range of subgenres including traditional, historical, gothic, Regency, and paranormal romance.

Bisexual or Transgender Categories

These categories are non-gender-specific works containing material of strong significance to members of the bi and trans communities.

Bisexual Fiction or Transgender Fiction:
Novels, novellas, short story collections, and anthologies with prominent bi/trans characters and/or content of strong significance to the bi/trans communities. May include historical novels, comics, cross-genre works of fiction, humor, and other styles of fiction.

Bisexual Nonfiction or Transgender Nonfiction:
Nonfiction works with content of strong significance to members of the bi/trans communities. Includes a wide range of subjects for the general or academic reader (e.g., history, memoirs, cultural studies, public policy, law, politics, community organizations, humor, spirituality, gender studies, parenting, religion, spirituality, relationships, psychology, travel).

Bisexual Poetry or Transgender Poetry:
Single volumes and collected poems are eligible; chapbooks are not. Updated editions of previously published works are not eligible unless at least 50% of the poetry (not the supplemental text) is new.

LGBTQ Categories

These categories are non-gender-specific works containing material of strong significance to members of the LGBTQ community.

LGBTQ Anthology:
Collections of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are eligible.

LGBTQ Children’s/Middle Grade:
Individual works and collections of fiction, nonfiction, picture books, and poetry whose intended audience is young readers are all eligible; anthologies are not.

LGBTQ Young Adult:
Individual works and collections of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry whose intended audience is young adult readers are all eligible; anthologies are not.

LGBTQ Comics:
Book-length works of fiction or non-fiction that use a combination of words and sequential art to convey a narrative are eligible, including novels, graphic memoirs and short story or comics collections by the same author/team. Individual comic books, periodicals, anthologies, and web-only content are not eligible.

LGBTQ Drama:
Plays and other theatrical works and performance pieces that have been published in book or script form during 2020. Collections from a single author are eligible; anthologies featuring multiple authors are not. Unpublished play manuscripts are eligible, as long as the play has received a full production with at least 8 consecutive shows in 2020.

Because of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on theater, we will also allow entries for the following this year in the LGBTQ Drama category:

  • Plays that were scheduled to be produced in theaters in 2020 but which were postponed or cancelled because of the pandemic
  • Plays that were produced and performed outside traditional theatrical venues in 2020 because of the pandemic (such as online venues, etc.)

LGBTQ Erotica:
Anthologies, novels, novellas, graphic novels, memoirs, and short story collections whose content is principally of an erotic nature.

LGBTQ Mystery:
Novels, novellas, and short story collections in which a crime or series of crimes is an integral part of the story are all eligible; anthologies are not. Category includes a wide range of crime fiction subgenres including police procedurals, political/legal/medical thrillers, cozies, and hard-boiled detective stories.

LGBTQ Nonfiction:
LGBTQ-themed works for general readers, as opposed to those targeted primarily to scholarly audiences (e.g., LGBT/Queer/Gender Studies programs). Includes but is not limited to law, history, politics, spirituality, humor, parenting, relationships, psychology, travel, and photography. Anthologies (edited collections of separately authored work) are not eligible in the LGBTQ Nonfiction category and should be submitted to LGBTQ Anthology. (Please see the LGBTQ Studies category below for comparison and contact Lambda’s awards manager at [email protected] if you have questions about where to submit your work.)

LGBTQ Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror:
Includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, and related genres. Novels, novellas, and short story collections are eligible; anthologies are not.

LGBTQ Studies:
Scholarly work focusing on issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, and oriented toward academia, libraries, cultural professionals, and the more academic reader. Generally, but not exclusively, published by university presses. Anthologies (edited collections of separately authored work) are not eligible in the LGBTQ Studies category and should be submitted to LGBTQ Anthology. (Please see the LGBTQ Nonfiction category above for comparison and contact the Lambda’s awards manager at [email protected] if you have questions about where to submit your work.)

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